San Benito Parents Demand Improvement in School Emergency Communications

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SAN BENITO – Administrators at San Benito High School are looking into the way they notify parents about emergencies on campus.

San Benito High School principal Henry Sanchez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the safety of his campus was his first concern after receiving an overnight threat Wednesday through social media.

Jennifer Yzaguirre's son is a senior at the high school. She said it's not uncommon to get an automated call from the school, such as for when students are having tests or when they are absent.

Yzaguirre said she wasn't told the school had extra security after several students made threats on social media.

"I didn't find out about it until I read it on Facebook, and honestly, I was just shocked," she said. "Because, well you know, we have kids here, my son goes here."

Sanchez said city police notified them about the threat. He couldn't give specific details, but said it involved "a group of students and another student having a difference of opinion."

He insists the necessary precautions were taken. To make sure students arriving for the school day were safe, he said they exercised a soft lockdown.

"What we decided to do was to make sure that there was no students standing outside the building for their safety, so we had the big gym open and the cafeteria is always open," Sanchez said.

He said by 8 a.m., city police gave the all-clear on the threat.

Sanchez then took to the school district website to inform parents about what had happened. Although his priority was making sure students were safe, he realizes there is room for improvement.

"We have a new Facebook page, we have a new web page, we're on Twitter as well, and we're going to do a much better job of communicating with our parents using all those types of mediums," Sanchez said. "I would tell the parents that I am first and foremost responsible for their children and to make sure they are safe and sound, before anything else that I can do."

Sanchez said the automated phone calls currently don't include emergency messages, but that's being reconsidered.

He's asking all parents to follow their social media sites to stay up-to-date on any announcements. He said several staff members are now dedicated to working on just social media for the high school.

Classes on Wednesday were not disrupted.

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